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Old 05-17-2024, 02:43 PM
6,526 posts, read 4,066,736 times
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IMO, this isn't even about forgiveness... it's just about whether you need/want him in your life at this point.

I had a family member who was my best friend in childhood, like, best best friend. Around middle school, we grew apart (that is, she grew away from me). Several years ago in adulthood, she acted like she wanted us to be friends again. I didn't really bite on it. It had nothing to do with "forgiveness," simply that I had long moved on and didn't feel the need to rekindle the relationship (especially since it had been so long, our lives had gone in different directions and we likely had little in common anymore, etc.). No animosity, simply apathy.

In your case... if you feel this guy could add something to your life, and if you feel he won't flake out on you again, then by all means give him a call. If you're happy with your current life and social situation, and/or don't know that he won't pull this again, then there's no reason you have to take him back. YMMV; some people are very much interested in adding more social interaction/opportunities into their lives and would welcome any chance to have another friend/go out seeking to meet new people, whereas I tend to be happy with the friends and social situations I already have and just don't feel the need to make a big effort to have more-- if it happens organically, great, but I don't go out of my way to make it happen.

In more serious situations, as in, if a person hurts me or does something bad... no, I don't forgive. However, not everyone defines "forgiveness" the same way. What some people define it as, I call "getting over it." My idea of "forgiveness" is basically saying what that person did was okay/doesn't matter, and going back to the way things were*. And nope, there are some things bad enough that I don't do that. Doesn't mean I have to dwell on it, but I always remember that what they did was wrong and I won't take it from them ever again, so they are out of my life. Or as I once put it to my mom when referring to an ex who screwed me over royally: I'd pull him from a burning building because he's a human being, but I'd probably tell him what I thought of him once I'd dumped him on the sidewalk outside. At the same time, I also don't want/need apologies from these people. I've moved on, and I don't want to give them space in my life even long enough for them to say they're sorry (especially since these things are usually for them and their peace of mind, not the person they've wronged.)

*Because that's basically what it is. What does it mean in the Bible when God forgives you? It means your sins are erased and you and God are cool again-- God doesn't say "okay I'm not going to think about it but you're still cut off; get lost." What is "loan forgiveness?" It means you no longer owe the money. If you wrong someone and ask them to forgive you, you are asking them to take you back, not saying "Hey, you can dump me like a hot potato but just don't be mad about it"-- because if "forgiveness" truly is about their mindset and has nothing to do with you, why would you care what goes on in their head?

Originally Posted by Maddie104 View Post
Six years is a long time and his excuse seems lame to me. I would be suspicious that he finds himself in need of your services, i.e., construction and renovations so he wants to reestablish contact.
That would be my other question, as well, though again, this is someone talking who is generally happy with their social life and doesn't feel the need to add to it: why, after six years, does he need OP in his life again? No other friends so he needs to reach out to past friends? Too much nostalgia running through his head?

Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
If they were a good friend, why not just forgive and forget? I had a good friend distance herself for no apparent reason. I just kept acting the same. I'm guessing it had something to do with work where we were in different departments. After about a year she was back to normal. She wasn't the type to apologize or explain, so I never pressed.

I had another good friend who had a falling out with a mutual friend and "divorced" all of us in the group. Haven't heard from him in probably 30 years. But if he called tomorrow, I would have no problem.

I'm not as good about forgiving people who aren't friends, so its not like I'm a saint. But with friends I would be very forgiving.
I guess it depends. Someone who was a part of your life and then drops out of it... you might fill that gap with other friends and/or activities. So if they then come back and expect to occupy that same space they willingly left-- are you supposed to drop the other people and things to make room/time for them? Or were you supposed to keep yourself free in case they decided to drop back in some day?-- it might be a bit presumptuous.

Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
As for the OP's situation...

I think that it probably depends on what your expectations are of a potential friendship. I have known people who have tons of "friend-quaintances"...people that they usually refer to as friends, but there isn't a ton of investment there. No particular tension, they just only tend to see each other in group social settings, they don't really go out of their way to spend a lot of time together and are not very involved in one another's lives. Then I've known people who believe that in order to be called a friend, you've got to be able to count on each other. You help one another move, you have each other's backs, you confide personal things, you would trust each other in more serious ways.

If someone had vanished on me like that, I'd be willing to accept that they were just going through a lot and I was not entitled to have been a huge priority for them to update me about what was up at that point... But I also would limit my expectations about them being reliable or available in the future.

If our social connections exist in concentric rings like an archery or darts target board with each of us at the center and various people closer and further out... This friend would be allowed back on my board, but not to my closest circles.
Ah, yes; this too. Like, "Sure, you can be someone I call if I haven't got anything better to do, but don't expect to be close enough to be a high priority." Whether it's just a matter of "our relationship has changed" or "you need to earn that" (or even "you're past the point of being able to earn that").

Originally Posted by HodgePodge View Post
The paranoid part of me says to "not burn bridges". He was a good friend (or so I thought), and having them makes your life richer.
You didn't burn bridges. He did. Just because you didn't burn a bridge doesn't mean you have to backtrack to cross it again if you don't need/want to go that way in future. If you simply don't take him back, that's not burning bridges (burning bridges would be, say, if you called him up and said "Leave me alone, you big loser jerk").
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Old 05-17-2024, 03:30 PM
Location: on the wind
23,572 posts, read 19,351,905 times
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So much depends on the circumstances and the relationship. A pattern of deliberate behavior is much harder to forgive...or forget because it was...well, deliberate, intentional towards me. Something out of character, a momentary lapse or what I eventually realize was thoughtlessness much easier. Everyone suffers these lapses. If the person apologizes, seems to own up to whatever it was and we talk through it, I'm happy to forgive them.
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Old 05-17-2024, 03:52 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,461 posts, read 14,829,176 times
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Originally Posted by HodgePodge View Post
Thanks for all the inputs dear fellow posters.

I love hearing all views, because I am definitely on the fence on this one.

One poster hit it on the head - I wonder if he is contacting me because he needs my help / expertise on something?

That would definitely be the last straw.

The Christian part of me says that forgiving is divine and shows good character.

The paranoid part of me says to "not burn bridges". He was a good friend (or so I thought), and having them makes your life richer.

I am not going to rush into a decision, because to be fair he took 6 yrs to reply to me.

TBH I wrote him off as a friend years ago. Not in a hateful way. More of a that's life, people come and go into your life and accept it.

I never wished him ill will... just made me rethink whether or not he was truly a friend, or just somebody who liked using me for my skill set, etc.
I would definitely be considering if there was anything of actual value there, back before all of this.

Having moved many times, I've left friends behind in many places. Most of the time, people these days just aren't into maintaining long distance ties by phone calls. Social media and texting isn't really enough in my opinion to stay truly connected. So I feel that I have lost some people that I really valued and I really do feel a bit of sadness about it. A few years ago I moved again, from CO to AZ, and right as we were getting moved, I got a message that was so out of nowhere...had not heard from this friend in years...that she was going to be visiting CO in a few weeks and could we get together? I frantically racked my brain trying to think of a way to make it work out, but we would definitely be in AZ at that time and with the move and all I couldn't afford to make a trip back up just to hang out with her (or for any reason.) I was pretty upset. If I'd known quite a bit sooner, I might have been able to adjust our timeframe a bit, but it was just too late for that.

If I had any chance to rekindle that friendship, just to even see her and catch up again, I would jump on it. I had such happiness in the times we used to spend together. It was always very fulfilling and rewarding. I miss her. Even if she hasn't responded to my attempts to reach her by phone in ages. Emotionally I just feel like the payoff is high enough of spending time in her company...

So a lot of the "math" of this for me would be just how badly I wanted to hang out with that person again. If there is or isn't something there that I'd like to have back in my life.

Though I still would not put a whole lot of expectations on them being very available or reliable or someone I could count on for anything...not for a while at least.
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Old 05-17-2024, 06:49 PM
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i dont

forgiven is a sign of weakness, you made the bed so now lay in it
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Old 05-17-2024, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Igor Blevin View Post
I don't consider forgiveness and trust to be the same. I can forgive someone for harming me but still distrust them and be unwilling to give them a "another chance".

Forgiveness does not mean being dumb or being a victim. You don't have to put yourself in harms way or be the doormat for another person in order to simply forgive them for past harm and damage.

There are plenty of people I have forgiven but would never see them again or ever trust them again.
Agreed. You can forgive someone while still keeping your guard up next time. Not angry or resentful, just prepared.
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Old 05-17-2024, 09:46 PM
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How easy is it for me me to forgive others? It's simple. I don't forgive. Not anymore.
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Old 05-17-2024, 09:49 PM
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Pretty easy
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Old 05-18-2024, 06:53 AM
761 posts, read 785,158 times
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I wouldn't forgive him, you don't ignore real friends like that. If there's a legit reason, he would have told you he needed alone time back then. That's would be so easy and people would have understand.

My guess, back then he probably had his priorities reshuffled and didn't think you should be involved in his life.

Also, What makes you think he might not do it again?
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Old 05-18-2024, 10:13 AM
Location: Huntersville/Charlotte, NC and Washington, DC
26,711 posts, read 41,896,644 times
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I personally don’t believe in forgiveness. I’m one who believes in justice and natural consequences to mistakes. Once you’ve suffered the consequences and atoned for your acts, I think you’ve handled your business and should be allowed to move on in life. The problem I have with forgiveness is that people use it to move on without atonement or consequences.

In OPs case, I’d follow your gut and not pick up the damn phone next time this friend calls. It won’t lead to anything good.
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Old 05-18-2024, 10:40 AM
Location: King County, WA
15,988 posts, read 6,682,396 times
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It's become easier to forgive now that I'm much older. At one time it was often a matter of saving face and/or standing your ground. Now I'm more aware that people make mistakes (particularly when they are younger) and can come back around. Misunderstandings can occur that can be repaired through communication. People can have bad days and do things they normally wouldn't. That being said, there are some actions that are beyond forgiveness.
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